On today’s show, I get to talk with human kindness leader and possibility coach Gina Lemon.
Gina’s parents divorced when she was 6 and she and her mom moved around throughout her childhood. Like many Gen-Xers, she was given a lot of independence, which translated into a constant striving for excellence, which translated into the belief that accomplishments get you appreciation. She was 17 when her dad died of AIDS, which, as you’ll hear, has informed her purpose today.
We chat all about ABCs of life, supporting other people even when they have a different perspective from you, and what can happen when you speak your truth. And of course we get into what happened when Gina realized fine wasn’t fine at all.
After leaving her corporate VP of Human Resources position in 2021, Gina started a consulting company to partner with clients who believe they can change the status quo and make a positive impact on the world. She loves helping people find their passions and live their best futures today instead of allowing the past to dictate what happens next.
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Oh, one more thing…
Think about your work week. Think about your home life. Do they bring a smile of joy to your face? Or are you constantly waiting for things to change? Here’s some harsh news. They’re not going to change unless YOU change them. And taking a spa day isn’t going to fix the stress in your life. Life is short. It’s time to do the work now.
Or you can keep waiting.
The next small group, 8-week, F*ck Being Fine program starts in just a few weeks. Get in and radically increase your focus, energy & happiness while learning to stay calm & grounded no matter what.
Here’s what one of the participants says about his experience: Every conversation is different now. I’m always looking for the positive. This is definitely rewiring my brain.
If this opportunity speaks to your heart, join me for the next cohort. Find out more at ZenRabbit.com or text me at 571.317.1463.
Gina’s hype song is Shut Up and Dance with Me by Walk the Moon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JCLY0Rlx6Q.
Find the Positive Intelligence assessment at https://assessment.positiveintelligence.com/pq/overview
Find the Saboteur Assessment at https://www.positiveintelligence.com/saboteurs/
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Lori and Gina LemonLori Saitz:
Hello, and welcome to Fine Is A 4 letter word, my guest today is Gina lemon. Welcome to the show, Gina.Gina Lemon:
Hello, thank you so much for having me here.
It's my pleasure. I'm really excited to talk with you.Gina Lemon:
I'm excited to this is great. Thank you for having meLori Saitz:
Jumping right in. What were the beliefs and values that you were raised with that influenced you as you grew up?Gina Lemon:
That's a great question. The interesting thing is my parents divorced when I was six. So that really shaped a lot of who I was, because I saw my mom really work hard. And she had a really strong work ethic. And it was really a lot of what's next for me, how do you want to continue to be more and more successful, because there was not really this partnership that she could rely on or have communion with? So that was one of the challenges is that I was always striving in life because of this belief that there's always something that's next, what's next, what's next. Also, because my parents did divorce, and my mom was an executive housekeeper, she was headhunted a lot. So we moved around the country a lot. And I was always the new kid. So I was in five schools within seven years.
Oh, my God.
Yeah. And it was, I know, it was a lot. And it was this opportunity to say, Okay, how do I want to redefine myself. So there was this perpetual motion, almost, of who I was and how I was being developed. And it was really independent, right? Like, no one was there, watching over me or giving me guidance, because the other piece I did not mention is I was an only child. So a lot of independence, a lot of striving for perfection, was how I was raised. And I think what's also interesting is that my dad was gay. And because I was always the new kid, I was, I felt like I was always othered, that I never really fully belonged into a group because I was always so new, that to build those deep bonds and relationships and connection was challenging. I think that also provided me to be an extrovert, and to learn a lot about the people that are around me. So some good things and some challenging things.Lori Saitz:
Yeah. How did how did you define success? It sounds like you define success when you were younger as accomplishment?Gina Lemon:
100% It was. How many things can I be involved in? How can I get the appreciation that maybe I wasn't receiving from my father or my mother? So yeah, I was in theater. I was in marching band, I was in 101 organizations. Everyone would say, Gina, how can you do so much? And why are you burning your candles at both ends? And for me, it felt normal. Because I had the capacity and there was not a lot of guidance, I was able to do whatever, whenever because I saw my mom having to struggle to provide for me. Right. And her son,Lori Saitz:
did you have a lot of interaction with your dad at that point? I mean, if you were moving around a lot, and was he in in one place? Did you get to have a relationship with him?Gina Lemon:
Yes. So I was born in Minneapolis, and he continued to live here after my parents divorced. So I would come and see him every summer. The interesting thing is, is a lot of my of who I was and how I was developed wasn't really framed or shaped up by him because we would spend maybe a week or two weeks together. So I the one thing that has come from my father is really this entrepreneurial spirit because he had an owned a pet shop in downtown Minneapolis. So I think that's where my entrepreneurial spirit comes today. However, when we would get together we'd go see a movie. So there wasn't a lot of time to communicate and connect. So again, I also saw my father striving and owning his own life, from the creation of this pet shop. So it was it was an interesting and unique experience. And then unfortunately, my father passed away when I was 17. So there has not been a lot of opportunity to connect because when you're a child I think you're pretty self
Yeah, for sure. Right. And and you don't have to have an adult relationship with your parent because you were he was only around when you were a child.Gina Lemon:
It was he was and in the at Twin Cities, what I realized as I continued to get to know my father better and better is that he was actually gay. And that's what was the reason why my parents divorced. And when I had the opportunity to connect with him every summer, I learned more and more about the fact that okay, you know, my dad is in a different type of relationship. And that's probably why my parents divorced in the first place. And, you know, a lot of it's, I would say, I had two really moments where my beliefs were really defined one, one, I was six, my parents got divorced. And the other was when I was 17, when my dad died of AIDS, his partner cheated on him and brought aids back to the relationships. And he told me three months before he died, that he had AIDS, it was really hard for him to tell me he probably had it for a good like four or five years, as he was struggling with what to do, and how to tell me so I had three months to process. And because I actually asked him if he was gay, I had an inkling that he was, but we never really talked about it. So I asked him if he was gay, and I had to process that he was gay and dying of AIDS all within three months
Gina Lemon At 17, it's a lot to digest as a child.Lori Saitz:
Absolutely. And then, now, how is that shaped? So I want to first I want to go back to the question of what success looks like for you, because has your definition changed now? And,Gina Lemon:
Yeah, yeah, I think from a definition of success perspective, it was a lot about achievement. So I would have almost considered myself a hyper achiever, that nothing was ever enough, I kept going and going and going, and yet that hole of love and appreciation was never fully satisfied. So that was my definition of success is how much can I accomplish in this world? How much can I get done?Lori Saitz:
I can totally relate to that, because that has been me for a very long time as well. And I remember doing an exercise where you pick three values. And one of mine is it's actually over here on my on my board is accomplished.Gina Lemon:
Yeah, and I think what's interesting for me is that I never have had accomplishes one of my values, I think it was an outcome of what I didn't have. And some of my values were around diversity and belonging, and health and security. And I think because those were my values that played out in this, how can I feel belonging? Honestly, I wanted to belong to a community, I wanted to belong to a group. And I think with all the moving as well, it impacted how that was shaped for me. And so to get back to your question of, you know, what does success look like today? It's shifted, because, you know, fast forward, I'm no longer a child. I've been married, I've had two children. And I've also been divorce. So with all of those, I would say, life movements and opportunities and challenges is that you gain a different perspective as well. So my perspective on success is really how are the other people in my life doing? How are How is my community doing? So it's really about for me the other at this point, that I know I'm accomplished. And I know that I'm worthy, and that I'm enough. So how can other people feel that how can other people struggle less.Lori Saitz:
So it's really focused on the other at this and how you can contribute to helping them feel whole. 100% because we can only control ourselves, like we can't control how they feel or how healthy they are. We can only contribute to helping them become a better, better version of themselves. I just wanted to make that clarification because sometimes people feel like it's their responsibility to make someone feel some way and we can't make someone do anything. Just like no one can make us. You know, people say all the time, like well, she made me feel guilty. Did she really?Gina Lemon:
Yeah, it's interesting as I think it's this responsibility process where I need to recognize what's going on in my own life. And I need to acknowledge all the feelings and thoughts and beliefs to your perspective of what's really driving this particular outcome that I have. So for me what I've gotten to over the past couple of years because again, my dad died of AIDS, which was my pandemic one. So when COVID hit which I consider my pandemic two, is, how do I feel aliveness, belonging and connection? And how do I gain that? And really keep it simple. It's the ABCs of life, I call it. So if I can have aliveness, belonging and connection, then once I feel whole, and I feel that I can really have that, and I'm no longer what I call say, struggling, I'm now thriving. Once I have that for myself, then what does it look like for others and to really ask the question, because aliveness for me might look different than aliveness for you. And can I support your aliveness? Yeah, yeah. And that definition, or with whatever your definition is, because I think that's where we're struggling as a society is that I have one viewpoint, you have one viewpoint, and I think our responsibility is to come together to say, how do we support each other, even though our perspectives might be different?Lori Saitz:
Yes. And understanding the other's perspective, even if you don't agree with it, coming to end finding the commonalities, you know, are we, we seem so programmed to focus in on the differences. And those just divide us when in reality, the commonality there are far more commonalities than differences. But it's that whole thing of what you choose to focus on expands. So if you're going to focus on the differences, then that expands, focus on the commonalities.Gina Lemon:
The other. Yeah, the other thing too, is that I think from an actual brain perspective, our brains are wired and really haven't changed since caveman days, to be 70%, negative, you know, the back part of our brains, that hippocampus is really the fight flight freeze. And that prefrontal cortex is where we really need to spend most of our time. However, it's only 30% of the place that we go. So it was really interesting, as I was thinking about your podcast, by the way, love the name of your podcast, is that fine, that's fine for me. And there's a level of another four letter word called fear. So I think that we have to be really honest with ourselves to say, How does fear show up for us as individuals? How does fear show up for the other? Because I think that at some level, we're struggling with this fear word. And we're not really what I would say, recognizing and acknowledging it. So if we can do that better, how would our lives shift and change? Yes,Lori Saitz:
oh, I just, I'm having so many thoughts around what you just said, and that fear. Fear doesn't feel good. So people don't want to feel it, or acknowledge it. And to your point, a lot of what's happening in society and individuals as just as individuals, is that they don't want to see that their reactions, their responses, that things that are happening in their life are because of fear. And I'm not afraid of anything. I just don't like that person.Gina Lemon:
Well, and I think it, there's a couple of thoughts that come to my mind, either. The big word that comes up to my mind is delusional. So we can pretend. And we can rationalize, and we can justify and all of these other human emotions. I also like to talk about analogies. So if I have a rug, and I keep sweeping everything under the rug, at some point, I'm going to trip over all of the junk and garbage under the rug. So I think right now we have a really great time to pull up the rug, and it just really say, Wow, here's what it is. Maybe I'm not happy about it. Maybe I'm not proud of it. Maybe I wish I would have done things differently. And the more we can speak our own truths, it actually allows other people to speak their truths. Yeah. So when I got married at 26, guess what, now that I'm divorced and have two children, I can honestly say that I married the person that I thought was going to be the best. I maybe, maybe I sacrificed or you know, what's the word? Compromise? Yeah, like, I think I think I compromised. I think I settled. That's the word I was looking for. Is that I thought that he was the best that I could do. So tell me so it's fear and scarcity mindset. So if I'm coming to the relationship with a perspective of this is the best I can do. How is that going to frame up the rest of my relationship?Lori Saitz:
Yeah, absolutely. It. It's really interesting, it is interesting. And it's interesting, because you can only have the perspective. Now, looking back, it didn't see it at the time, because you were doing the best you could to see what you saw. And, you know, I think a lot of times, we end up beating ourselves up for things that we couldn't see what you were doing, you know, who was it that you did the best you could with the tools you had at the time, the tools and the knowledge?Gina Lemon:
Yeah, and it was really interesting, because I thought about the same thing when my dad decided to come out and to be gay, is that I was really upset of, you know, how could you get married to a woman? How could you have a child and then leave the wife and the child and live your gay lifestyle, and then my perspective shifted to say, Wow, he was honest with himself, and what a blessing to be able to be honest with yourself. So I think that's also something that I've learned as I've grown up is, we are only we're trying to be as honest with ourselves as we can. And we also need other people around us to allow for that. So I'm so grateful that society has opened itself up to say, Wow, we want to appreciate everyone, regardless of how they connect with their gender assigned at birth, or who they really want to be in the world. So there's this really interesting dichotomy happening, we're allowing for so much love and space. And then also we're being challenged with not wanting to acknowledge that we have fear or we have differences. And are we are we threatened by those right? Or how do we continue to open up.Lori Saitz:
If we are threatened by them to acknowledge that we are, and then move forward from there. That's where that's really where fear becomes the four letter word, it's not having the fear, it's acknowledging it and figuring out what to do with it from there.Gina Lemon:
Yeah, and I think much like how beliefs are defining who we are in the world, that fear also helps define that at some level. And if we are open, and can share that and being community and not make it scary, I think that's the best thingLori Saitz:
going back to your ABC, it's that connection, like allowing for connection, a lot allowing when you allow the space for somebody to be who they are. And to explore who they are not necessarily just show up and say, here's who I am, because nobody is fully formed. All in like ever really, right. We're always reforming ourselves. And allowing that space and making a connection with that person. So that backing up, they feel like they belong. I can be fully alive in who they are.Gina Lemon:
It's really about allowing for that connection and not being scared or even if you are scared or have fear, to still step into that space, it was very, it was very powerful for me to go down, for example, to the George Floyd Memorial square. And in Minneapolis, it's 10 miles away from me, I grew up 10 blocks away from where he was killed. And it was that opportunity for me as a white woman to go into that space and to honor him to honor all of the travesties that have happened to our black brothers and sisters. And even though it was tough, and even though my heart pitter patter didn't even though I like held on to my keys tighter, or whatever, sort of paranoia that might have been going through my brain based on past issues, I still stepped into that community. And it was beautiful. So I think at some level we missing or missing out on opportunities day in and day out, to have that connection and to have the belonging.Lori Saitz:
Yes, the thought that just came to me as you were saying that is we're living much smaller than we need to.Gina Lemon:
There you go. And so that I think has hit me really hard through pandemic one alone as a 17 year old, so I didn't know how to articulate that. I was still growing myself. So now that this pandemic has hit when I've, you know, been in my 40 years, I've been able to honestly assess that to say what do I want to do with this information? How can I play on a bigger stage make more of an impact and really allow the other whoever that other is to see that there are so many more possibilities that you can lean into, than you would even want to recognize because we diminish our own possibilities all the time. And that's the name of my new company is People Possibility to really help others feel whole, and to honor everyone in the work environment, because that's where we spend 90,000 hours of our time alive. So how are all of these communities that we're in? How are we able to really dig deep? And number one honor people have the ABCs for everyone. And then also really help them understand what their possibilities are. I mean, I've biked all across the United States. And some people are like, Oh, I could never bike from Minneapolis to Chicago. And I was like, you'd be surprised. Yeah. You'd be surprised at what every human being can do. It's that we all make we're all making different choices to how do you utilize our time and resources? Right, we have to, so I bike and then yep, I bike and then other people do other things, right? Like, I don't have a podcast, you have a podcast. And it's about being in community and uplifting and supporting each other. So that we're a little bit further ahead than where we were yesterday.Lori Saitz:
I like that, since the show is called Fine Is A 4 Letter Word. When would you define the time in your life when you said everything was fine, but it really wasn't?Gina Lemon:
You know what, I think from 22 to 44, okay. I ay said that everything was fine. Um, you know, I got married, and being married wasn't fine. I had two children. And I as an only child with a mom that was divorced, that said, Men are horrible my whole life, and never thought I was gonna have kids or be married. So that was fine. My full time job. in corporate America, that was fine. I feel at some level, though, between the years of 22 and 44, I wasn't serving people in a way that could have made as big of an impact.Lori Saitz:
Yeah, that you were, again, playing smaller. But, again, also, you were doing the best you could at the time.Gina Lemon:
100%. So I think we diminish our capabilities. And at the same time, I know what I'm possible. I know what's possible for me and what's possible for others. So I did have some moments where I was being impact impactful, right? Like all of these bike rides that I've done to help people living with HIV and AIDS. That's what I could do while I was a parent and working. However, I was, I was realizing my smallness. So most recently, I think what the pandemic is, I was saying that I was fine I really wasn't, I was going into work every day. I really, I think it hit me after I turned 40 Because my dad only lived until he was 40. I really started processing what is this life about? How am I really helping, serving providing support to others, because I'm really privileged, I'm really blessed. There's a lot of really great things in my life. And I could do that right, I could maintain status quo. And yet that is not serving my soul. Exactly. So I think it's really this acknowledgment of, you can do everything and you can be fine. You it's really, what are you like, are you living your purpose? Are you? Are you? Are you moving forward in a powerful way?Lori Saitz:
living your purpose, it's something that comes up a lot, because people are always looking for what is my purpose, especially when they reach their 40s. And, as you said, you know, whether your parents are passing away when you're in your 40s or like in your situation, you were reflecting on the fact that your dad only lived to be 40 it still you know, reflecting on that parent, the aging of a parent or the age of a parent and coming up on this Okay, now I've lived these past 40 years what do I want to do moving forward reevaluation. And so that's when people start looking for what what is my purpose? What is my purpose? Like? They're looking around like it's gonna show up, out of nowhere. And it sounds like for you, your purpose was better defined than a lot of people because of your experience with your way because of the experience of your day. Add what would you advise people who are stuck in a place where they're like, I don't know what my purpose is.Gina Lemon:
I really believe that everyone knows what their purpose is. They just haven't spent enough time sitting with themselves. So my guidance would be to remember who you are, what are the things that a lot of people tend to look at the negative and the challenges and the trauma, and then that's, that informs them almost of where they want to serve. Because at some level, I never wanted anyone else says, Dad or Mom died of AIDS, right? I was just like, that's a really stinky feeling to have happen. I have had some friends that have lost children, and they're now serving other parents that have losses of children. So I think if this again this belonging in this connection, where if we lean into where and how we can belong and connect, I think there's something there in regards to your purpose of how you can serve the other in a powerful way. Even with going through a divorce. I shared super openly on Facebook of like all of this stuff that was happening. And I had so many women in my little small network, reach out to me to say, oh, my gosh, I'm so proud of you, oh, my goodness, I think I need to go through divorce as well. Or I had some women that said, I'm stuck, I can never get out. And seeing your freedom, at some level provides me some hope that my life could get better. So, for me, I think it's really going deeper, we are so programmed to go go go go doo doo doo doo. And I think that the purpose actually comes up in those small quiet moments. And in society, we do not have enough of those small quiet moments.Lori Saitz:
I completely agree. I mean, you're talking to the one who's teaching people how to use meditation to get connected with their inner voice. So sure, yes, I'm glad you mentioned that. What were some of the tools that you used to help you move out of that place of Everything's just fine.Gina Lemon:
Well, unfortunately, it took my stomach being on fire for two years to. I know. So I think sometimes we're not able to notice that things are fine. Until we literally are in a place where we're screaming a different four letter word. So it I would love for people to acknowledge what's going on for themselves faster than two years. So I was in pain for two years. Like legit pain, I was eating rice and chicken every day. It was super painful. So I had to really be hit over the head in order to really acknowledge what's going on for me. And I think when you're in that place of pain, to allow and be open to have things come into your life. So because I was in so much pain, I was open to receiving as much help as possible because I knew at that point that I couldn't figure it out on my own.Lori Saitz:
Were doctors not helping you.Gina Lemon:
All Western doctors know because I had such an interesting thing happening where I was having histamine response to food. And I did the cast gastroenterologist, endoscopy colonoscopy, they couldn't figure it out, I self diagnosed of here's the foods that I probably shouldn't be eating. And they're like, Okay, and they gave me the FODMAP. And it was just not working. So it wasn't until I found a coaching program that had a doctor tied to it, where they did the intake, and at the last, like I did intake for an hour. The last thing I said was, oh, and by the way, my stomach's been hurting for two years. Who does that, who does not acknowledge their health is a major disruption to their life. I just got so used to it.Lori Saitz:
Well, lots of people do it. You're not alone. Well, because I've heard many stories where people's bodies were screaming, we had like literally like yours screaming at them and they were not paying attention or they're like, Well, I don't hear you.Gina Lemon:
So I think that with going through that group coaching program, the doctors like you need to go see a naturopath so into the natural path. They did a blood test and it popped all the foods I shouldn't eat. I don't eat those foods and I'm great. So that was step one is like not being satisfied with the answers that you're given. Continue to get a second opinion continue to search for your happiness, it will arrive if you continue to not be satisfied. The second thing is that I was open to meditation. I think that's beautiful. I wasn't really open to meditation before I was this doer, this, this goal person is accomplishment. Whereas like, oh, I have to sit and quiet my brain. That sounds boring. But I had a lot of I had, I had a lot of judgment around meditation as the extrovert, right. So I heard about COVID in February, and I bought the Deepak show per app. Because I said to myself, if this is going to become pandemic state, I need to get my house in order. Because I had already experienced a lot of this emotion. And I did not know if I was ready for all that emotion to come up again, to be quite honest. So I said, Okay, now the student is ready. I'll do meditation. And actually, I spent the most money I've ever spent on a vacation to go and meditate for a week. And that is when my soul opened up and came alive. And I now then realized that I needed to no longer be fine. So that is, that's the start of it. Those were the those were the tools that I used was to make sure that from a medicine perspective, I knew how to take care of my body. And then meditation.Lori Saitz:
Wow, okay, nice. Where did you go on that vacation?Gina Lemon:
Oh, it's this great resort called Savannah and Carefree Arizona. And we ate vegan for a week. I mean, it was just gorgeous. They have this swirl, swirl cactuses. And I had so many serendipitous moments that happened. So I really do think that when you quiet yourself down, when you're open to receiving, it's the same thing with you know, so after that, I came back and I was just like, I need to, I need to pivot, I need to get out of corporate America. And that opened me up to do that. And so I think what's really interesting is that, right now, I'm looking at a tree out of my window. However, I don't know what's to the right, I have to actually turn to the right, in order to see what's over on the right. So I think that's where we get stuck a lot is we actually have to take the action to shift and change. And then we can see the new landscape, we want to see the new landscape before we move before we take action before we do something different. And I and you're not going to see it, you have to literally jump off the ship and land in the water in order to see all the ocean creatures Yes.Lori Saitz:
Oh, that's such a good analogy. And I was also thinking, as you were saying that we have to look off the path that's immediately in front of us. So when you're saying you have to look to the right, like we can get so focused, you know, and it's a in a lot of ways, it's a good thing to put blinders on and to not pay attention to what everyone else is doing in the comparison trap. And just focus on your own path. And at the same time to turn left and turn right and see what might be off that, that well-worn path that's right in front of you to see something different.Gina Lemon:
What I love. What I love about that is we have this thing called the ego as well. So, I have to be able to be humble enough to say I don't know the right way, you might know a piece of the right way that I want to capture and bring into my life. So, if we're not looking to the right or looking to the left, we could be passing by a lot of really great things that could help us or serve us, strengthen us, embolden us. So I think we also have to be open to the landscape as you put it. I love that.Lori Saitz:
yes. Oh my gosh, I have so enjoyed this conversation. And for those of you who are listening, because we don't publish the video, so Gina was concerned before we got on here that her puppy was going to be a little wild and an unruly and disruptive and she was not at all. So yay, she was a good girl. See was before we go my always ending question. What's your hype song when you need to get a boost of energy? Maybe when you're biking from Minneapolis to Chicago or wherever else you're going? What's the song that gets you all hyped up?Gina Lemon:
Well, it's interesting because I do like to bike and I also like to dance which not everyone knows about. Now they do a little bit more under the radar. Now they do. Just let my secret out. So I love this band called Walk The Moon and they have a really great song called shut up and dance with me. So I love that song because I just want to dance and dance and dance and turn the music on I'm really really loud. So that would be my hype song.Lori Saitz:
I really want to just stay that is such good song like you can't sit still listen to that song. I can't anyway. Yeah, not at all. Awesome. So if someone wants to continue a conversation with you around what we talked about or anything else they want to chat with you about where do they find you?Gina Lemon:
Yes, well, definitely on LinkedIn. So Gina lemon, and again, the new company, we created people possibility on Instagram and our website will be up shortly. So depending on when someone's listening to this, they can connect via our website as well.Lori Saitz:
Awesome. I will put a link to the all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining me today. Gina on fine is a four letter word.Gina Lemon:
Laura, you are a pleasure. Thank you so much.